Seaford board proposes $70.6 million budget


Just days after New York State released its state aid figures, the Seaford School District Board of Education unveiled a proposed 2019-20 budget of roughly $70.6 million at its meeting on April 3.

The budget represents an increase of roughly $2.2 million or 3.24% year-over-year, according to a presentation by Marie Donnelly the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations. The tax levy is projected to increase by roughly $1.5 million, or 2.98% from the year-ago period.

The district is slated to receive some $13.6 million in state aid — an increase of roughly $779,000 from the 2018-19 period, according to Donnelly’s presentation.

The 2019-20 preliminary budget sources of revenue include state aid, appropriations from reserves, fund balance allocation, property taxes, PILOT payments (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) and other local revenues.

The district anticipates no cuts to current offerings. The budget includes expenditures for continuing the Teachers College ELA (English Language Arts) program; the Personalized Digital Learning Initiative; and expanding opportunities for eighth grade science.

The district is seeking to replace the track and the turf field, which will not result in any additional costs to the taxpayers, according to Donnelly’s presentation. “The replacement of the track and turf field is not part of the expenditure budget,” Donnelly wrote in the presentation. “A proposition will be included on the budget vote to seek voter approval to withdraw funds from the capital reserve to fund this project.”

The budget vote and trustee election voter’s ballot for May 21 will include three propositions: the school budget; the use of the capital reserve for the track and turf replacement; and the sale of real property.

In addition, the board held a meeting on March 20 where Superintendent of Seaford Schools Dr. Adele Pecora, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel John Striffolino, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Mary Catherine Culella-Sun and Donnelly presented on curriculum and program enhancements, as well as the tax levy, within the 2019-20 preliminary budget.

The board’s goal was “to create a fiscally responsible and operationally efficient budget that maintains and enhances the integrity of all programs,” according to the presentation.

District-wide initiatives included personalized digital learning; developing better thinkers using Arthur Costa’s and Bena Kallick’s 16 Habits of Mind problem solving; and the Lions Quest program, a mandated mental health curriculum.

At the high school level, enhancements in the 2019-20 proposed budget include A.P. and college coursework, updated classroom and library space and electives in the arts and humanities.

Middle school enhancements include a new sixth-grade math program, world languages and aligning the science program to new standards, while the Harbor and Manor Elementary school enhancements include an update to the Go Math! program, STEAM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrichment and social-emotional learning.